TIFF Report Day 7: Limited Love, Jingoism, Teen Love in War & Cuckolding
If I just used this introductory paragraph to discuss how weird the weather has been in Toronto I could go on for a while. It’s just downright weird. But let’s get in to the TIFF movies from today.
GABRIELLE (dir. Louise Archambault)
Is love inherent? When do you limit it? Should you try to limit other inherently human behaviours and emotions in the lives of the handicapped? Gabrielle takes this to task in her pursuit of happiness while she’s told that she has to be different and dependent for her life.
There is every festival that darling film that manages to be sweet enough that is easily accessible by all but at its core asks a question that not everyone is ready to categorically come down on too strongly and Gabrielle is that movie. With a lot of great acting and the question of limiting the life experiences of those who for all intents and purposes experience life in a very different manner than we do. In so many aspects of their lives we already begin to veto their freedoms as if they are our children for life, so why not in love?
Films like this reminds me that minute climaxes make films better at times, and it’s so good in this one.
AMERICAN DREAMS IN CHINA (dir. Peter Chen)
Dubbed “the Chinese Social Network” the film is not only mismarketing itself but just ready to disappoint. When it sits heavily on the shoulders of the lead actor’s chemistry: Xiaoming Huang, Dawei Tong & Deng Chao, it’s suffers from either just poor comedy, chemistry or just plainly not translating well to western audiences. Which is ironic as the film itself focuses on the translation towards western culture as well as how China (and probably all countries and cultures) should not conform to America and not think of them as the place where everything gets better.
If only more countries were sold on the “American Dream”. Gladly though slowly but surely people of this world are realising the best and worst of USA and we’ll all be talking about the Aussie Dream soon all heading over to the Down Under.
HOW I LIVE NOW (dir. Kevin Macdonald)
Is it a romance? Is it a post apocalyptic film? Is it in the future? Past? Present? Why does England’s militia army suck so much ass? This film could easily be sometime made akin to The Road with a childish romance wedged in the middle.
Every once in a while a film comes along with a very “teenage” plot and I find myself completely rejecting the film. Last year was The We and The I, now it’s this. With these stories I’m just not able to understand that there are people willing to be that in love that easily. Love at first sight can be a thing, but when you mix in World War III and you have to ask these characters how far they will go it’s tough to believe they would. Then when you remove that from the equation there isn’t much else worth discussing in the film.
The heavy post-apocalyptic setting that the movie exists in isn’t that interesting. Besides the washed out colours in the frame the film barely offers a world that we want to explore.
THE HUSBAND (dir. Bruce MacDonald)
When your wife cuckolds you with a 14 year old child what happens next? Lots of depressing things begin.
The film is actual set after the events of Henry’s (Maxwell McCabe-Lokos) wife’s crime, we’re uncertain as to how long after the event but we do know that it’s coming to the end of Alyssa’s (Sarah Allen) term in prison. Something about the idea of her being beside Henry again sparks this weird depression and at the same time obsession with the victim of her crime, Colin (Dylan Authors), and every other aspect of his life as we don’t have any idea how far down the rabbit hole we’ll go with Henry.
Dark comedy seems set for repressing with this film’s happening. Unlike films like Young Adult, which seems to deal with the same sort of idea, here it doesn’t quite blur the line between comedy and tragedy, as opposed to just putting enough tragic things in such a ludicrously crazy sequence of events that the audience’s only response is shock and laughter.